Portuguese Nationality – Sephardic Jews
The descendants of the Sephardic Jews can obtain Portuguese nationality without having to reside in Portugal or even to master the Portuguese Language.
Sephardic Jews (in Hebrew ספרדים, sephardi; in plural, sephardim) are Jews originating from Portugal and Spain. This word derives from the Hebrew denomination for the Iberian Peninsula (Sepharad, ספרד ).
In the late 15th and early 16th centuries, most Sephardic Jews were forced to keep their practices secret (Crypto-Jews), many were forcibly converted to Catholicism (the so-called New Christians, Marranos, or Anusim) and yet forced to exile.
They left Portugal establishing around the world, especially in Europe (Germany, Belgium, Croatia, France, Greece, the Netherlands, Italy, England), in the Mediterranean countries (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Syria, Tunisia and Turkey) and in the American continent (Argentina, Brazil, United States of America, Mexico).
The granting of nationality to descendants of Sephardic Jews depends on a decision of the Minister of Justice, who shall pronounce after the following requirements have been met:
- Being over 18 years old or emancipated according to Portuguese law
- Not having been convicted with a final sentence for an offense punishable by a term of imprisonment equal or exceeding three years, pursuant to the Portuguese law;
- Not being involved in terrorism-related activities;
- Demonstrate belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.
In order to demonstrate belonging to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin the applicant should previously:
- Obtain a Certificate of the Jewish Community of Portugal (CIL or CIP) attesting the tradition of belonging, materialized specifically in the applicant’s surname, family language, genealogy and family memory.
If lacking such certificate:
- A document issued by the Jewish community to which the applicant belongs, attesting his/her use of expressions in Portuguese in Jewish rites or as the language spoken by him/her within the community, the ladino (i.e., Judaeo-Spanish); and
- Authenticated documentary records, such as records in Jewish synagogues and cemeteries, as well as residence titles, property titles, wills and other evidence of the applicant’s family connection by direct descent or family connection in the common parent collateral line from the Sephardic community of Portuguese origin.
Note: The ideal is to obtain the Certificate from the Jewish Community of Portugal. It is the most reliable and fastest way to carry out the process.
Once the Portuguese nationality is granted, the Applicants obtain a Portuguese birth certificate, with which they can issue the Portuguese Citizen Card and the Portuguese Passport.
Very important: in most cases it is necessary to proceed to a genealogical research to locate the documents and information that will serve as evidence of the connection to the Portuguese Jewish community. We work with specialized genealogists.
- In addition to the privilege of holding a citizen card from a country with a rich history, whose culture is spread all over the world, citizens enjoy the following rights:
- Living in a safe and peaceful country at a social and political level, with an internationally renowned education system and a highly qualified and accessible health system;
- Benefiting from the free movement of persons and goods within the European Union, allowing to establish their residence in any of those countries;
- Benefiting from the excellent relationship that Portugal has with all Official Portuguese-speaking countries (PALOP – Portuguese-speaking African countries);
- Holding one of the strongest passport in the “Passport Index 2021” ranking – the Portuguese passport – which allows entering in 159 countries without needing a visa, in addition to free movement in the Schengen Area;
- Maintaining their nationality of origin, if their country of origin also allows it; and
- Family reunification. Family members have the right to reside with the Portuguese wherever they live, either in Portugal or another country of the European Union.
If you want to get more information on how to acquire Portuguese citizenship please contact us here, or use the form below.